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Orange Extension Cords


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Hey everyone!

I bought a few orange extension cords this year in desperation (it was 6:30 and go live was at 7:00). They worked fine, but the orange color has to go. Has anyone successfully painted extension cords? What did you use?

Thanks for your help!

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I think it depends more on the cord than the paint... We have sprayed yellow and orange cords with various cheap spray paints, and some times the paint stays sticky and rubbery forever, and other times, it seems to set up nicely.. We don't try to paint the whole cord, but rather set everything up, with the cords as bundled as possible, then spray the bundle brown in place..

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You can use latex exterior paint on the cords. I paint my grass white using athletic fiels marking paint which is a latex based paint and it does a good job on the cords. I have some cords that have been painted for over 8 years and usually the only spots that show orange is from dragging them across the drive or over the curb. If you use a spray paint it will take a very long time to finish drying. The latex paint dries in 1/2 hour and is ready to be placed out. Should you need to touch it up its very easy to get more paint and just dab some on in a few places.

Anthony

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I have had good success painting my big extension cords with a paint I get at Advance Auto parts. It's for painting the vinyl interiors of cars. It doesn't come in a LOT of colors, but it comes close enough to the color of my roof for my wife to be happy, and it drys very quickly (about 5 minutes), and has held up for 3 years so far.

Hope that helps.

D.T.

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Hey, something I might be actually able to help the board out with here for once! I looked into the idea of buying the brown or green cords but have always found the orange to be in the best price range. To overcome the color, I use a tape called "Gaffers Tape". Its as wide as duct tape, does not leave a residue like duct tape and is good for the outdoors. I ran across this roll of tape due to my job, (I'm a commercial service plumber) and obtained a bit from a theater I do work at. I needed a bit of duct tape to hold something and ran out on my truck, I asked the maintenance dude if he had any duct tape and threw a roll of this my way. Now being the handy Andy I am, I didn't like the unsightly orange either so I went to my truck and pulled out this roll of Gaffers Tape. I stretched the cord or tied each end off pretty snug and cut a piece of 2" in half and wrapped it around the cord, not in a twisty motion but rather a "blanket" like folding in half to save more product. I have 2 years of extension cords to this date, still wrapped in this tape and is not come off. Its a lot like duct tape, but again, not sticky and its what they use in concerts, theater etc. Maybe it just might work for you as well. I found more rolls this year at about 21.00 a roll for 50 yards (150 feet) but again, I split the 2" in half so I actually was working with 300', I didn't have to mess with paint or the mess and yes I just did clean up my display and was able to roll the cords still intact with the tape to it. The cords from last year, easy........no problems with the tape at all this year and we had a lot of snow!!!!! Hope it helps.......just google "gaffers tape" and see what you get. Its worked for me and as the display gets bigger, the "orange cords" really do stand out.......Cheers

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Baileys_Dad wrote:

Hey, something I might be actually able to help the board out with here for once! I looked into the idea of buying the brown or green cords but have always found the orange to be in the best price range. To overcome the color, I use a tape called "Gaffers Tape". Its as wide as duct tape, does not leave a residue like duct tape and is good for the outdoors. I ran across this roll of tape due to my job, (I'm a commercial service plumber) and obtained a bit from a theater I do work at. I needed a bit of duct tape to hold something and ran out on my truck, I asked the maintenance dude if he had any duct tape and threw a roll of this my way. Now being the handy Andy I am, I didn't like the unsightly orange either so I went to my truck and pulled out this roll of Gaffers Tape. I stretched the cord or tied each end off pretty snug and cut a piece of 2" in half and wrapped it around the cord, not in a twisty motion but rather a "blanket" like folding in half to save more product. I have 2 years of extension cords to this date, still wrapped in this tape and is not come off. Its a lot like duct tape, but again, not sticky and its what they use in concerts, theater etc. Maybe it just might work for you as well. I found more rolls this year at about 21.00 a roll for 50 yards (150 feet) but again, I split the 2" in half so I actually was working with 300', I didn't have to mess with paint or the mess and yes I just did clean up my display and was able to roll the cords still intact with the tape to it. The cords from last year, easy........no problems with the tape at all this year and we had a lot of snow!!!!! Hope it helps.......just google "gaffers tape" and see what you get. Its worked for me and as the display gets bigger, the "orange cords" really do stand out.......Cheers


Gaff tape does leave a residue and does dry out. and at $21 a roll you are getting ripped off

find a local theatrical supply house - they will have it in stock and you can get it for somewhere near $15 a roll ( spike tape can also be purchsed - it is narrower (1/2") and usually offered in more colors)

here is a link for our local shop http://www.calstage.com/ look at their expendables
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I'm with Johnny, Can't see most of the cords at night and in the daytime they all look ugly. I buy what ever I can get cheap and don't worry about it. There are some colors worse than orange. I bought some lime green ones from Target, Now those are some ugly cords:).

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I've successfully made 'multi'-extension cords. Using 8 conductor, 18 guage wire ($.38 a foot in bulk) and a 6 outlet 'weatherproof' ground stake (around $5 - $8 at the after Christmas sale at Target), I power 6 clustered display elements with only 1 small white cord. I would have preferred bigger conductors, but 18 ga was all I could find at a reasonable price. Could have used 7 conductor cable by omitting the ground, but the 8 conductor was actually cheaper and I prefer having the ground available even if my current display elements don't use it. Also, because I tend to cluster my display elements in sets of 8, I made some 3 outlet cords too. This first year, I just inserted the ends of the cables into the screw terminals on the controller boards, but for next year, I'll use round CPC connectors (probably about $10 - $15 per cable) for ease of installation and teardown.

The 6 element extensions share a common return, so should all be on the same side of the same controller board. Plus the maximum cumulative current draw of the elements on at the same time should be kept under 5 Amps most of the time (6 Amps for short periods of time should be ok). The 3 element extensions have each return separate, so can be split between sides of the board or even boards, and could support up to 5 Amps per circuit (6 for short periods of time). I did this because I could not find any 4 or 5 conductor wire which was suitable, and besides I had to buy more of the 8 conductor than I really needed to get it down to .38 a foot. Plus it does give me that higher power option if I ever need it.

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In our neck of the woods you can bury the cords under some leaves (assuming you set up in the fall) and I find the leaves help when removing the cords in the snow. In Arizona why not bury the cords under some stones or sand and eliminate their sight altogether. I've also coiled up excess orange cord and placed under a black garbage bag then covered with a few leaves but you can cover the bag with just about anything. Up North the snow and leaves hide a lot but it sure is cold when it comes time to take it all down.

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Last summer I installed 4" ABS "conduit" under my lawn with irrigation valve boxes in strategic places. This hides not only the orange extension cords, but also the blue cat5. The bonus is that when kids run around the mega tree (which of course I stop when I see it) there are no cables to trip them.

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stanward wrote:

I hate to be devil's advocate here.....

Is the 8-conductor cable rated for 125VAC?

The CPC connectors are the ones made by Amphenol? Are they rated for 125VAC as well?


Yes. Officially it is 'communications' cable, but it does have a UL rating (440 maybe?) which states 'although it is not marked as such, this can be used up to 300v')

Don't know about the Amphenols, but I think so. They are listed under 'power connectors' on one of the sites I'm using for comparisons. Of course, I will verify that before placing an order.
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Steven wrote:

Last summer I installed 4" ABS "conduit" under my lawn with irrigation valve boxes in strategic places. This hides not only the orange extension cords, but also the blue cat5. The bonus is that when kids run around the mega tree (which of course I stop when I see it) there are no cables to trip them.


Yep, if I already had the extention cords, something like this is what I'd have done. Not only would it reduce the chance of theft, unauthorised tripping and improve the esthetics, but it would allow the cords to get from the controllers to the display elements without crossing an area where people legitimately have to walk.

Since I didn't have the extention cords and buying and installing the ones for the first five display elements in the yard was so 'traumatic', I went with the multi-extentions. I still may put in underground conduit, since even though the number of cables is much less, they still have to get from the house to the yard across a pathway.
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John Hertig wrote:

Yes. Officially it is 'communications' cable, but it does have a UL rating (440 maybe?) which states 'although it is not marked as such, this can be used up to 300v')

Don't know about the Amphenols, but I think so. They are listed under 'power connectors' on one of the sites I'm using for comparisons. Of course, I will verify that before placing an order.

The Amphenol CPC is certified to 250VAC, so you're good to go.
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Bowshock wrote:

Hey everyone!

I bought a few orange extension cords this year in desperation (it was 6:30 and go live was at 7:00). They worked fine, but the orange color has to go. Has anyone successfully painted extension cords? What did you use?

Thanks for your help!

I just buy the cheap spray paint. Setup your display, then spray paint the cords while they are on the ground. It never seemed worth the time to truly try to paint cords when you can give them and the grass a quick coat of black after your setup is done. Saves time and money.
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John Hertig wrote:

I've successfully made 'multi'-extension cords. Using 8 conductor, 18 guage wire ($.38 a foot in bulk) and a 6 outlet 'weatherproof' ground stake (around $5 - $8 at the after Christmas sale at Target), I power 6 clustered display elements with only 1 small white cord.


Where did you find 8 conductor 18 AWG cable for $0.38/foot. I would be interested in this option if I could find the cable at a reasonable price.
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Bob VandenBoom wrote:

Where did you find 8 conductor 18 AWG cable for $0.38/foot. I would be interested in this option if I could find the cable at a reasonable price.


Local electronics supplier (Elliot Electronics). I had to buy the whole spool (about 700 feet left) to get that price. Home Depot has something similar but I couldn't verify that it was rated for 120vac (claims 'low voltage').

When I first started looking into this, I found a custom cable manufacturer who will make anything you want (in spool lots). A cable with 8 cond 16ga and 2 cond 14 ga was quoted at about .50 a foot if I remember correctly, so 18 ga should be a bit cheaper. Shipping was annoying tho. I gave up on this option because even the 14ga common return would not handle 15a (bundling wires reduces the current capacity) and because 8 outlet strips are rare and expensive. Let me know if you are interested in this manufacturer and I'll see if I can find my notes on this.

I settled for 18 ga and 6 outlets after the 'trauma' (cost, work and appearance) of stringing extention cords for the first 5 display elements I attached to the controllers, and realizing that in almost all cases I only have one thing on each channel.
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Most of the low voltage sprinkler stuff at HD is 30V RMS Max specified. Some may be different. On occasion I have to specify cable for work and have contacts at several cable manufacturers. I have had them quote some multi-conductor cables for this purpose, but they did not work out to be that economical compared to clearance after Christmas finds. That was during the run up in copper prices. Might be worth taking another look now.

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